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Divorce – some of your questions answered

Posted on 19th May, 2020

The family department at Jacksons are proud to be able to support and assist clients during some of the most difficult and stressful time of their lives. We specialise in divorce, financial settlement, co-habitation and pre-nuptial agreements, domestic abuse and private children law. We assist clients throughout the North East, Sunderland and Teesside.

We pride ourselves on being Resolution members with many years’ experience between us.  Our aim is to resolve matters in the most amicable way possible in some very sensitive and complex cases. Each client is very important to us and we strive to deliver the best advice and legal knowledge and assistance that we can to each and every case.  We also practise Collaboratively aiming to resolve your case with the best possible outcome for all.

Below are some common questions that are asked frequently around divorce.


How long is the process?

The length it takes for a divorce can differ depending on many factors including but not limited to the co-operation of your spouse and whether there are any issues of finance that need resolving.  If there are no delays it will take 8 to 10 months from petition to Decree Absolute.

What are the grounds for divorce?

You have to prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and can rely upon one of five factors;

  1. Adultery
  2. Unreasonable behaviour
  3. Desertion
  4. 2-year separation (with consent)
  5. 5-year separation


How is contact split?

It is in the best interests of the children if parents can agree to split contact between themselves to suit each parent and the children. If this is not achievable then parents may attend mediation before making an application for a child arrangements order for contact if mediation is unsuccessful. If the parents cannot decide how to split the contact reasonably then the court will make the final decision. Court proceedings can be very expensive and lengthy.

What happens if contact arrangements are breached?

If contact arrangements are breached then one parent may decide to stop all contact moving forwards until matters are resolved by negotiation, at mediation or failing mediation, court.

Do grandparents have any entitlement to contact?

Grandparents do have an entitlement to contact and Jacksons have worked closely with Grandparents Plus to offer support and legal assistance to those grandparents who have been denied contact.

Will the court take into account the wishes and feelings of the children when deciding how contact is to be split?

Yes. When matters reach court Cafcass who are independent advisors of the court acting in the interests of the children become involved and advise the court on what is in the best interests of the children, including consideration of any safeguarding concerns, and if they are asked to do a more detailed assessment of the families also known as a section 7 report, they will advise the court on suitable contact arrangements.

How much does a divorce cost?

For a standard divorce for a petitioner an approximate estimate is £600-£800 plus vat however, costs will increase if you want financial issues resolved.

The court fee for a divorce is £550, as a one off payment, which is needed at the time the divorce petition is sent to the court.

Do the parties share the cost of divorce equally?

This can be a matter for the parties to decide between themselves or through negotiations between solicitors. If matters are not amicable then the petitioner will have to pay the court fee upfront and may try to claim costs back. Parties may also agree for one party to pay a contribution towards the others costs. If costs are disputed, then the court may have to make an order.

Are costs paid upfront?

The court fee of £550 needs to be paid upfront to the court.

How much does it cost for an application for contact?

The court fee for an application for a child arrangements order for contact is £215. Solicitors fees vary depending how early an agreement can be reached.

At Jacksons we ask for an initial payment on account of costs (usually between £200 and £400)  for the preliminary work that is conducted and you will then receive a breakdown and invoice at the end of each month for money owed based on time spent and you will have 28 days to pay this bill.  We recommend that clients set up a standing order payment on a monthly basis.  If there are any hearings then you will be asked for an amount to be paid upfront before the hearing, the amount depends on how long the hearing has been listed for.

If you would like to speak to someone in the Family Department at Jacksons, please contact Heather Snowdon at or Emma Canham at or call 01642 356500/0191 2322574.




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